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Friday, February 11, 2011

Pretty Much Everything I Have to Say About How to Do What I Do

Today I planned to blog about Jacqueline Susann, and how she really is a huge inspiration for me (be charming, be everywhere, work hard, and write romance). I think there's some really good advice in there for aspiring authors, and I've been getting a lot of questions from them lately.

But because I really, really need to turn of the internet and get some serious work done, I'm going to keep it brief, but give you the best advice for authors that I have in a nice bullet point form.

-If you're looking for good advice on how to be a better writer, check out Stephen King's On Writing. It's a great book, and he's a better writer than me, so his advice is more sound.

-If you're looking for info on how to e-publish your books and get into it, check out J. A. Konrath's blog and book A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Also, check out Smashwords style guide for tips on formatting, as well as the Kindlboards.

-If you're wondering how I managed to self-publish and end up being a best seller, you can check out my post about I got started in an epic tale of how it all happened.

-If you're wondering if/how you should publish your book, you can check out a couple posts I did My Thoughts on Indie Publishing and Indie vs. Traditional. And you might possibly want to check out How Everything Went the Opposite of What I'd Been Told.

-I pointed out a lot of great places that helped me out when I started in this, but the stuff I'm showing you is only the beginning. The number one thing you need to do before you decide to publish is RESEARCH. Look up and learn everything you can about everything involved with writing and publishing, even if you think it doesn't affect you. It's vital that authors understand the market and their readers. And if you think you don't have the time or inclination to do that much research, then the sad but brutal truth is that you do not have time or inclination to self-publish.

-And if you want the best piece of advice I've ever gotten, watch this video.  I posted it before, but it really, really bares repeating. You can watch the whole interview if you want, but the question/answer starts at about :55 seconds in and goes until about 2:10, so it's short and sweet. They're talking about music, but it applies to everything.

And, now, I have to step away from the tantalizing interwebs, and go do what I do: write.


  1. When is the next book in My Blood Approves coming out?

  2. I hope that your shoulder feels better quickly and that you can find a more comfortable position to write in to make your amazing stories flow a bit easier! Maybe you need to treat yourself to a massage!!!

    On another note, I love Blink 182. I was lucky enough to see them in 1999...which seems like yesterday to me. I guess that means I'm getting old;-)

  3. I'm going to add this to my favorites. Thanks for the great links! :)

  4. Amanda,

    I started following your blog in Dec, and I must say that you have certainly provided lots of inspiration. I have always wanted to write, but was intimidated by the publishing process. Having seen how well you have done, and that it is based on YOUR hard work, not on the small chance that a publisher finds your gem of a story, has helped me to seriously pursue my life long dream! I'm 30,000 words into my first novel, and I am really excited.

    I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for showing us that it can be done (and the pointers on how), and that dreams can come true with hard work.

    And thanks for writing! Because I fell in love with the whole troll thing :) So different from everything else. A breath of fresh air!

  5. Great, great post and brilliant video...thanks for posting! (Also I think Pete Wentz is hot.)

  6. ooo Sending you some **healy thoughts** for your shoulder. Hope it feels better really soon.
    Thank you for your recent blog.Your books have given me the inspiration to try again at getting my books 'out there'. I have to agree with others, your books are a delight to read and so fresh and new.
    looking forward to new stuff. Ursula

  7. Just found you through David Farland and I'm finding that I heart you like biscuits heart butter. Wait... that much butter's like, bad for your heart. Crap.

    Right. Anyway, I've got some mates in San Diego that started and while I've not played with it, I think they've got good hearts and a shot at making something pretty cool out there in interwebsland.

    Your awesomesauce has spread pretty far across the sandwich, but you never know, you may want to check it out.

    I will now email you with many words that are not suitable for these small comment boxes. Words like "picklesmithers" and "jesterdonkeys". I mean, I can't go leaving that in a comment on your blog now can I?

  8. Congratulations on the USA Today feature. I'm in the process of setting up a blog site. You might enjoy reading my post on personal branding. I mention you as an e-publishing success.

  9. Hope your shoulder gets better - I recommend a deep tissue massage :) works a treat for me.
    It's great watching a fellow indie succeed - especially when we can be so vilified on the Amazon forums *wince* man do those people BITE! Good luck and I hope your star continues to rise *grin*

    The Arrival, only .99c on Amazon

  10. I just read an article about you on

    I am so proud of you!!! I feel like your were my own daughter! Your parents must be so proud! You have great drive and I have to throw it out there....PLEASE FINISH MY BLOOD APPROVES!!! I gotta know what happens!

  11. Oh! I second the deep tissue massage! It gets out all of the gnarly stress that latches on in the shoulders.

  12. I am beyond proud of her! She is the best daughter with a wonderful imagination!

  13. Best wishes to you! Your work ethic is admirable. Thank you for your advice and inspiration!
    Take care!

  14. Hope the shoulder gets better! I also agree go get a massage with pretty smelling lotions and oils and have a hot tea! :) You are an amazing young woman and a truly gifted person! Take care of yourself!

  15. Getting old is only in our mind.
    Age never prevented people from doing things:

  16. Amanda,

    Thanks for the advice and links :) I really agree with you about Stephen King's "On Writing." I bought the book a couple years back and whipped through it. Now, I still find myself thumbing through different sections because I love the sections not just about writing, but about his life as well. Great book!

  17. Hey,

    I was just dropping by, and the first bit really struck home. The part about the tension in the curve of the next and upper shoulder. That area was killing me yesterday, so I can certainly relate. It's hard to get anything done or write anything with that constant pain in your neck.

    Congrats with everything!

  18. Excellent advice. Thanks for being helpful to new authors like myself. The part about doing research is especially true. If you don't want to put in the time to research what it takes to write and publish, then you shouldn't even bother.

  19. Thanks for everything you're sharing, Amanda. It's very helpful & illuminating to gain this insight. Yours is quite an intriguing journey, and hearing about the enormous time and effort that has gone into it makes us all appreciate it even more. I'm happy to see that your persistence & determination has paid off! It's inspiring :)

    The video of Mark Hoppus & Pete Wentz is bang on with the advice!

    Write on! I look forward to reading your work...

    Rai Aren, co-author of Secret of the Sands

    P.S. I have exact same problem with carrying tension in my neck/shoulders, it is very painful. I don't do well at avoiding it either. Hope you feel better soon!

  20. Amanda, I have been writing for 12 years, but just don't feel ready to be published. I don't spend nearly as much time as you , and I really am just not at a point in my life where I feel it would help. I just came across your blog, and love it. I wanted to let you know that I have had the same problem with tension and pain in the muscle where my shoulders meet my neck. I finally found the perfect chiropractor, and with a year long plan it's getting much better. I would like to suggest you try going to a Maxamized Living Chiropractor. They can be really helpful. I can actually sit and type, and read for long periods of time now. He even gave me excersizes to do at home whenever I feel tension. It's mostly caused by a pinched nerve, due to hours spent looking down at paper when I write, or up at the computer screen when I type.

    I'm really glad I stumbled upon your blogs, and look forward to reading more. You are an inspiration to young writers everywhere. I hope that this little bit of info will help you in some way, and inspire you the way you inspire others.

    ~Kristy Lynn

  21. I would recommend a Chiropractor and a good massage! I also carry tension in my shoulders, but have the added instability of subluxation in my neck. I haven't read your books yet, just downloaded them to my nook, but am very impressed with your start up tale and the reviews. I love reviews... they usually let you know what's worthwhile and what isn't...usually. Sometimes you have to take a grain of salt along too! I love your profile pic, but am concerned by the books you have chosen as favorites... I don't like many of them.. so I guess time will tell how I like your books.. looking forward to reading your stories, and being able to add a good review!

  22. Through quite serendipitous sequence of random events, I found myself reading your blog.

    There's been a small but quite vocal group calling for me to turn an epic trip blog into a book. A professional editor is egging me on and has volunteered to help.

    However, I've been very reluctant to try primarily because the legacy publishing route seems far too daunting and unpleasant. I mistakenly thought that legacy publishing was the only way to get a book into the hands of interested readers without having to shell out lots of money myself to get the thing printed.

    By taking the time to share what you have learned in a clear and approachable fashion, you have illuminated another path and opened a door for those of us who do not even know where to begin.

    As a result, I now think I see a way to make the attempt.

    For that, I sincerely thank you.

  23. Konrath's blog is the best! And I think it's awesome that you tied in the music and writing worlds. I think they're very similar. And come on, it's Mark Hoppus and freaking Pete Wentz. Good stuff right there.

  24. For the shoulder pain (caused by the writing) trying sleeping without a pillow. It has done wonders for my pain as well as posture.

  25. This is a great guide, but I'd *really* like to know what Amanda and then byoung210 meant by "research."

    Research what exactly?

    "Knowing your market" seems a little vague to me, and as someone who's interested in self-publishing and willing to work, this kind of vexes me.

  26. Amanda,

    How do you create your characters? I am an aspiring writer and wondered if you have an tips on how to create characters and how to go about actually starting writing the book? (I know it requires writing, but how do you start it off so you can get it into a flow?).


  27. Hi Amanda,

    Thank you for this helpful post! I'm pointing readers of my blog here so they can get an overview of all the things you've done to reach your present success.

    I've also listed your blog in my top 10 of publishing blogs worth reading for ebook authors.

    Love the Pete Wentz quote, by the way. Just dead on target.

  28. Hi Amanda,
    I"m a retired guy from the UK and I want to get my Biography published. It relates to the growing up of a boy during and after the 2nd World War right through my Teens up to adulthood and covers my encounters with the female sex which included women much older than me as well as girls of my own age. It also covers what young boys got up to in times of austerity.
    I personally believe it to me a very interesting book which includes humour,crime and lots of sex, but as of now no publish is willing to give it a chance. Any ideas.

  29. Thank you! You're such an inspiration to me... I recently fought through a bought of really bad writer's block/agony, and you (along with Gennifer Albin) REALLY inspired me through your blogs. I forgot my roots... and found them again. :)

    I wrote about my experience on my blog, if you're interested.

    Thanks so much for doing what you love, and sharing it with the world.

    - Esther

  30. Hello,

    When I visit your blog, my virus scanner goes crazy because of something called "twitter buttons". I'm sure it's a false positive, but I thought that you should know.

    Buy the way, I bought your book "Switched" after I saw your interview on CNN. Riveting!

    I think it's because we rarely get to connect with writers, artists, or anyone on television in a genuine way. And you have an amazing story to tell.

    I like reading the "advice" parts of your blog and wish there were more.